Weather Girls

The Chrysanthemum

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a part of Weather Girls, by The_Queen.

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The_Queen holds sovereignty over The Chrysanthemum, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Setting

Default Location for Weather Girls
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Minimap

The Chrysanthemum is a part of Weather Girls.

3 Characters Here

Winter Matsuri [171] As gentle as the falling snow.
Elise von Hresvelg [171] "Hide away from the light, the rain is the only refuge."
Jallet [7] Jallet es un chico que le gusta andar por malos caminos que siempre estΓ‘ metido en problemas y que odia el trabajo

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| [url=SONGURL]songname || artist[/url] ||







Motzart's Fifth Concerto played through the halls of the empty wing. These days, most avoided the ghost that lurked in the music room, if not for fear of having nothing to say, then instilled with the fright of being entranced by the haunting melodies that roamed the halls. It was math class and yet, Winter sat on the bench in the music room, working through the next piece. Her fingers moved as though they each had a mind of their own, branching out to press down on the keys, having comitted the piece to heart duing another sleepless night. The door to the music room suddenly opened, but Winter did not hear it. Her fingers continued to fly, the heart-wrenching melody playing only faster as someone stood behind her. "Ms. Winter?" Came an awkward voice from behind her. "Ms. Winter?" The melody cut short, the music dying out, the vast emptiness of the room suddenly apparent, no longer filled with dancing bars of Motzart's invention.

"Can I help you?" Winter asked softly, it was her math teacher, with a stack of papers and assignments that were incomplete. "Your homework, since you insisted on wasting another lesson in here." Her hands balled into fists, "It isn't a waste," she said quietly, looking at the mountain of work that had only been growing higher with each passing day. "Ms. Winter, I know that... things have happened, but you've had time to grieve. It's time to come back to class, it's time to think about your future." She reached for her cane, but for some strange reason, her teacher grabbed it. "It's time to start preparing yourself." She put on her gloves, silk, an heirloom from her Grandmother. "Can I have that back please?" He nodded, handing her, her cane.

"Please, tomorrow, consider coming to class. Alright?" He pleaded, turning around. "Please?" She said nothing as he left and stuffed the papers into her backpack, knowing that they would not be completed. The last bell rang, Winter rose, shouldering her bag and grasping her cane. Some would argue, that Winter did not need the walking stick She moved with the fluidity of water and all the grace of an expertly trained ballerina. Those very same had not seen her hobble around her home, wishing she did not need the assistive device her Grandfather had made with his very two hands. "Winter!" A voice called, that was rare, she turned around slowly, a girl she didn't recognize running to catch up with her. "Hey, I saw you leave the music room, that was you playing, right?"

She nodded slowly, wondering, dumbfoundedly, what this girl wanted to do with her. Others were staring, Winter was something of a pariah these days. "It was wonderful, do you think- do you think-" she reached for Winter's hand, who quickly jerked away. "Oh-I'm sorry! Um, I just wanted to know if I could come to your competition later today? I-I'm a big fan of Motzart!" They were watching them, Winter was acutely aware, there were eyes pasted to every inch of their bodies. "Sure, if you really want to. It's kind of boring though," Winter smiled. "But I think Janet would enjoy the company." The girl seemed to beam, "I'm so glad! I'm going to tell my friends, I'm sure they'll want to come watch you too!" Watch her? Who?

"You really shouldn't. Most people don't want to be around a girl like me," she hobbled off quickly, not wanting to talk anymore. Janet fell into step behind her as soon as she left the building. "Your tag Winter," Janet mumbled. "Why aren't you wearing it?" Winter wasn't sure if her name was actually Janet, but it was the name she had given the government agent that tailed her wherever she went since they only used numbers to identify themselves. "It's right here," she pulled the tracking device she was made to wear out of her pocket. Janet took it, latching it around Winter's ankle. "Stop removing it, or I'll have it injected into you." That was a thread, Winter knew, but she also knew Janet would not make good on it.

"I'm gonna be late if you don't start walking faster." Winter jerked away, she hated being touched these days. "The car," Winter was no longer allowed to use public transport, just in case she accidentally set off a blizzard. Janet opened the backdoor to the car. "I called shotgun," Winter grinned, getting into the passenger seat. She placed her cane beside her and opened up her backpack, rifling through to try to find her performance piece. Her fingers drummed to the melody against the dashboard, the two driving in silence, save for the sound of the radio. The hovercar parked right outside of the performance hall, pulling around the back. Winter picked up her cane and shoved her backpack under the seat, her belongings already inside, as she was a regular.

"Winter," Janet stopped her, "I'll be waiting in the normal spot." Winter nodded, heading inside. She wasn't nervous, more excited than anything. The competitions were why she was allowed to remain in the gifted program, after all. The music room was lined with her trophies and ribbons. If she won today, she would move past the state level. They all knew her of course, the security guards who had to pat her down before she was allowed in, the ticket distributor, who always put two tickets aside, but they were never picked up, the manager who called each entrant out before they graced the stage. She went back, ten minutes before showtime. Winter changed out of her school uniform and into the vintage gown that belonged to her mother. It had been far too big when she first wore it, she had to have it tailored to fit her.

"Ew, is that Winter? She has no butt!"

"Hey Winter, eat a sandwich why don't you!"

"Okay, I have one right here." She pulled a sandwich out of the pocket of her school uniform, "Want a bite?" She asked, knowing they wouldn't dare, as it could impare them before the contest.

"Hey!" The stage manager called, "stop teasing each other and get ready! Lineup is in five!" The lineup was a random number assigned to them when they entered, this was to keep out any bias in the order. Winter was picked last this time, she knew Janet was probably sitting in her normal seat in the third row, center, right behind the judges, able to stop Winter with the flick of a button. She waited backstage, sitting, standing, hobbling up and down the aisle between the benches until she was yelled at to stop and sat back down. When her number was at last called, Winter rose and went out onto the stage, the lights blinding, she could barely see the audience. Her eyes flickered with recognition.

That girl from school had actually shown up? She was sitting beside Janet, five other students with her. They waved, eager, Winter's heart suddenly racing. She grinned, a skip in her step as she took to the bench, leaning her cane against the side of the piano. Carefully, Winter removed her gloves and cleared her throat, her fingers touching the first keys.

"And in first place, no surprises here, Winter Matsuri will be moving on to the next level!" A trophy with a tiano piano on top, but Winter didn't need another one. Still, the applause was an unexpected surprise. She smiled, feeling oddly shy, her cheeks turning red.

Her mind suddenly tugged to the untouched math homework in her backpack and she wondered, maybe, if it was time to think of her future.

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







Four walls surrounded her. It really was quite pleasant if Elise had any say on the matter. These walls were her life, though unfortunately, she couldn't sustain herself within the confines of her beautiful wonderful sanctuary forever. Despite her attempts to plead and beg, Jeralt would never install a special bathroom that attached to her room. "I'll even clean it myself! So, um, please, can you give me a bathroom?" He said no of course. "It's important that you spend at least some time out of your room." Why, though? This room had everything in it for a recluse like Elise! (Except for a bathroom.) She had an endless supply of books to read, she had her phone and her computer, she even had her stuffed animals all lined up in a row on the head of her bed. What else could a girl want?

"Elise? Here, I'll slide the usual under the door." Elise let out a startled yelp. "D-don't scare me like that, Claude!" The former actress squealed, annoyed. She put her book down and went to the schoolwork Claude gathered for her. "I still don't know why the teachers allow this. You haven't once showed your face at the City Center." She was technically a student at the Crysanthemum City Center, but thanks to her special circumstances, Elise was allowed to do her work from home. "It's because, um, my grades are always good." Elise rarely scored below a 90 on any of her assignments. "Remember the contract?" The Principal of the school agreed to let her do this as long as her grades remained high. "I still don't know how you manage that. I study my butt off and I have trouble, but you just sit around pretending you're the characters in your silly books-"

"I-I don't do that!" Elise snapped, blushing ferociously. Did he listen in on her as she tried to bring characters to life? "It's r-rude to spy on a lady, you know!" He sighed in that way he did when he was tired of her antics. "Did you forget there isn't a soundproofing between our rooms?" The half siblings had rooms right next to each other, separated by nothing but a very thin wall. You could hear anything on both sides. "If anything I wish you'd stop so I could get some sleep." Still fuming, Elise stepped off her bed and reached for the paper. Trigonometry? Well, that was easy enough. Elise scribbled the right answers down in flowery neat writing and smiled to herself. "Psfhh, easy. Yeah, good work, me!"

There was a knock on the wall. "Before you break into song and dance, Liss, you wanna go do something?" Claude's voice sounded from the other room. "S-something? No! I'm staying in my room, it's safe in here." She fell back onto her bed, grinning at the safety of her room. "Mr. Stuffles, you agree, don't you?" Mr. Stuffles was her best friend, a big stuffed cow the size of a sofa. Sometimes she would sleep on him. "Yes, Liss, this room is the best!" She spoke for Mr. Stuffles, lowering her voice by an octave or so. "Stay with me, or I'll be lonely!" She stuck her tongue out at the door. "Yeah, he'll be lonely, s-so, um, I'll stay right-"

She was busy playing with Mr. Stuffles that she didn't realize Claude had gotten into her sanctuary somehow, pulling her away. "We're going outside. I have tickets for a music competition, and I don't want my hard earned money to go to waste." She whimpered, shaking her head. "You mean dad's hard earned money." She pouted, crossing her arms. Claude was already dressing her though, applying her make-up, giving her a simple black dress to wear with a hood attached so she could wear it over her head. "I don't wanna go! It a-always rains when I leave the house! A-and stop looking at my face!" Claude groaned, annoyed. "Can you stop moving your head, it makes it hard to get the powder right." Was it weird that her brother did this? Well, it wasn't as if Elise could do any of this, she refused to look at mirrors after all.

After Claude turned around Elise was forced to put the dress on and take off her silken pajamas, leaving poor Mr. Stuffles behind. "We're heading out." Claude said to one of the maids, who scurried off to go tell Jeralt. As soon as Elise hobbled out of the front door the clouds gathered and the rain came down. "E-every time." Elise squeaked, afraid. Claude already had an umbrella ready to shield them from the downpour. "Only a light drizzle this time." He glanced around, satisfied. "The paps aren't here today either." Sometimes journalists would hound them, wanting to get any tidbit of news about what movie Jeralt wanted to direct next, or about the Black Eagle hiding away from the world, a former child movie star.

At first Elise was very uncomfortable. There were so many people here, she was hyperventilating and hiding. As the rain poured outside the music hall, she wanted to go back to her room. Even with Claude always at her side she wasn't enjoying any of this. As the music started though, the star began to calm down. The eyes weren't on her - but rather, on the musicians on stage. By the end with the winner declared - some girl named Winter who Elise personally thought was the best one there - Claude took her hand. "See, that wasn't so bad. Should we go home now?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| [url=SONGURL]songname || artist[/url] ||







"Don't look at me like that," Winter glowered from behind her papers. Janet turned around, looking back at the stove. There was homework, an abundance of it, that Winter had been neglecting. "Tomorrow is your appointment with the Pscyhologist, be prepared to leave school early." Janet warned, placing two bowls on the table. "What's this? It smells weird," Winter poked at it with a fork. As usual, Janet didn't answer. Winter took a bite, flavors exploding in her mouth. "Spicy! Why didn't you warn me!" She took a drink of water, careful not to mess up her homework. Janet cleared the dishes, knowing that Winter wouldn't. She was busy filling out a quiz.

She placed all of her papers together, organizing them and putting one in each folder, when that was done, it was 2 AM and she was exhausted. Grabbing her cane, she walked to her room, which was a mess of sheet music and instruments. Her Grandparents would be ashamed if they saw the condition Winter allowed herself to live in. She removed her uniform and put on a night shirt, her head hitting the pillow and sleep never coming. She lay awake, afraid of sleep, afraid of reliving the moment she lost everything. when her entire life changed. When Winter at last closed her eyes, it felt like only moments later the alarm began to go off. She sighed, looking around for her cane and taking off her gloves.

Janet was not yet up, which was unusual. Winter glanced at the door and her backpack. She grabbed a piece of cake from the fridge, placed her backpack on her back and grinned, heading out the door. The bus, the public bus. She could take that to the train station and then to the City Center. "Where do you think you're going?" Janet asked, she was standing in the hallway, two shopping bags in hand. "I'm gonna be late," Winter huffed, her cheeks turning red, having been caught. "Alright, come on." They headed to the elevator, the ride to school uneventful. "Remember I'll be picking you up during lunch." Winter nodded, pushing the door open. "Winter!" She stiffened, surprised, it was that girl from yesterday. "You don't remember me, do you?" She asked, laughing awkwardly.

"No, I do." Winter shook her head, "Just not your name." Now that she thought about it, Winter didn't think this girl had ever introduced herself. "I'm Jessica," she held out a hand. "Winter, I don't shake." Too risky, Jessica withdrew her hand, noticing the gloves. "Are those so you don't hurt your fingers?" Winter nodded, shouldering her bag and heading up the ramp beside the steps, the ramp that had to be installed when she was still using her wheelchair. It had taken a lot of work to get back on her feet after the incident. "So, are you gonna go to the music room?" Jessica asked, following her. "No, I've got class." Winter replied, not meaning to be rude, but they had to be inside before the bell rang. "What's that on your ankle?" Jessica asked, "was that your Mom? I see her hanging around the school all the time."

"No, my parents are dead." Winter opened the door, their school ID's scanned as they entered. Jessica had fallen silent for only a moment. "Which class do you have first?" Winter glanced at her schedule, she honestly didn't recall. "Um, I have to check," she tossed her bag into her locker, which scanned her retinas, as it did with all students. It popped open, her schedule flickering on the screen inside. "Trigonomatry," she grabbed her text book and homework folder. "Wow, you color coded all of those! That's cool! I'm not in Trig, too hard, I'm taking algebra 3 instead." Winter closed her locker, wondering why Jessica was talking to her now of all times. "Well, I'll see you later!" She bound off, waving. "Yeah, I guess." Winter went off to class, people getting out of her way so as not to trip her.

"Ms. Matsuri, nice of you to join us." Her math teacher seemed surprised in earnest to see her. "I did this stuff," she pulled out the large packet, placing it on his desk with a satisfying plop! She had just taken her seat when the intercom crackled to life. "All students please file into the audetorium for our Tuesday gathering!" She groaned, wondering if she should have gone to the music room after all. They filed one by one down the hall, neat rows, the students giggling to themselves, but remaining in order. Order was what kept their society running after all.

She dozed off during the assembly, sitting in the front row, off to the side for an easy escape. Someone nudged her in the side, Jessica, when did she get there? "And we'd like to congratulate our music student, Winter Matsuri on making it to the state Finals and representing the Chrysanthemum City Center in the next level!" There was applause, which woke her up more than the nudge in the side. Cheering... for her? "Winter, come up here!" The Dean indicated to the spot beside her. She rose, grasping her cane, walking quietly to the stage. The Dean pointed to a man with a camera, where Winter confusedly smiled for a picture. "Want to say a few words?"

"Um, sure," she stepped onto the stool where the microphone was. "I just play from the heart, it's important that when you do something, you do it with intention."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







The rain stopped around the same time the siblings returned to the Von Hresvelg manor, at the north side of Chrysanthemum, atop the gladed hill. Elise made sure to hide in her room but she still needed Claude to take off the makeup for her. He was the only one that could do it, because she didn't have a mirror to look into to do it herself. Morning came, and it was a school day. The trigonometry homework was already completed, of course. The usual knock on the door came. "Elise? It's morning, do you want to eat something?" Father was out, Jeralt was busy making contracts with scriptwriters outside Chrysanthemum, so naturally, Cynthia was the head of the household until Jeralt's return. "N-no, I'm okay." Elise squeaked, not liking having to interact with anyone. "At least brush your teeth?" Cynthia had been very doting ever since the explosion that day, but Liss wasn't going to fall for it.

"I-t's dangerous outside of my room, so I-I'm going to stay here with Mr. Stuffles!" She declared, hiding under the covers, her holophone lighting up the blanket tent so that she could read a wonderful love story between two soldiers at war. It was a beautiful story, and often Elise would imagine playing the part of both the male and the female leads, with her bovine friend as her co-star in the imaginary theater. "Okay." Cynthia sounded sad. Claude had come and gone early morning, Elise made sure to leave the finished schoolwork on the floor under her door so Claude could retrieve it and turn it in for her. "One day I know you'll shine again, Elise. Wouldn't your mother like that?" She shivered, a chill rising up her spine. "N-no! I'm too... I'm not p-pretty enough for the camera anymore." She shook her head, her stomach recoiling in her stomach. The idea of going back out into the world in her current ugly filthy state was enough to paralyze the former star.

Was she being cruel? Perhaps, but Cynthia was in the wrong for being so pushy! It wasn't as if Cynthia was her real mother anyways, what right did she have to hound her like this? "You're plenty pretty, if only-" There was no way she could be beautiful. She saw her face in the reflection that day, no one deserved to have to see that face. It was awful, plastic surgery wasn't going to be enough to fix it.

As school ended, Claude still wasn't entirely sure how he was going to go about it. Early in the day, after the assembly happened, Miss Daffodil assigned a class project, splitting the class into teams of three. They were supposed to work together to do an in-class presentation on real world applications of trigonometry and how it can benefit society. The group Claude was assigned to was oddly enough one with Winter and Elise, his own sister. Of course he would be grouped with the troublesome Liss, no one else would be able to handle her. Catching Winter at the exit gate, Claude gave her a little wave.

"Hello, Winter. Do you have a minute?" He smiled easily, waving her over. Another girl, tall and pretty, giggled as he called out to Winter, the school's resident musical prodigy. "I was thinking, if you're free, would you mind coming over to discuss the class project?" It was the only way they were going to get any work done after all. "My sister... is a little ill, so she can't leave the house. It's nothing contagious." He gave an easy smile. "We have a piano her mother used to play before she passed.. maybe you could help her feel well enough to help us with the assignment?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| [url=SONGURL]songname || artist[/url] ||







The assembly had ended, they ended up back in trigonomatry, where their professor assigned them with a group project. Winter internally groaned, wondering why she had come today. When class was dismissed, she rose, preparing to leave, but someone blocked her way. "Sure, you must be Claude." Assuming since he already knew her name, he was her partner for the project. She leaned on her cane, listening to what he had to say. His sister was ill, she was home-bound. "I'll have to ask Janet," Winter replied. She would need permission to go anywhere outside of school or home. "I'll let you know at the end of the day." After all, this was only their first period. Speaking of which, they were already bleeding into their second class.

Janet was waiting for her at the entrance to her next period. "Let me just drop my assignments off," Winter grumbled, handing in her next folder. Janet guided her down the halls, signing her out and leading her to the car. The ride to the large building she had to go to once a month to check on her mental and physical state. Winter knew what they were doing, they were checking if her body underwent any physical change due to the strange blizzards she had caused. If she wanted her freedom, she had to do this much. "Ms. Matsuri, late again," the rceptionist sighed, buzzing them into the building. Janet led Winter to the elevator, where they went to the third floor. A room with no windows and only one way in and out awaited her, where she changed into a gown and was measured and weighed.

"Winter, you've lost weight." The Doctor noted on the chart with a frown, "Agent 009, please make a notation to provide better sustinance." Janet nodded, she was the one that made all the meals. "We'll add nutritional shakes to your meal plan," she removed her gloves so that her hands could be observed. There was frost on the surface of her fingertips, but Winter did not feel nervous or cold. The Doctor took photos and then Winter was allowed to put her gloves and clothing back on. She was shuffled to another room, where the psychiatrist awaited her. "I heard you went to class today, that's a good step." Winter narrowed her eyes, Janet, that tattle tale. "I thought it might help pass the time instead of falling asleep in the music room again."

"Speaking of which, I have a question." It was time to bring up her dilemma, "I have a group project and my classmate wants me to go over to his house after school to work on it." The Psychiatrist nodded, "I was wondering if I could have permission to go there until after the project is over?" Winter leaned back in her seat. "I think it would be good to start making friends." The Psychiatrist tapped her pen against her chin, then noted something down on her holo board. "Alright, I'll allow it. Until the end of the project," Winer nodded. "Keep making progress Winter, you're a very bright girl. I know you're going to do great things." Winter rose, making her exit.

They returned to school, Janet dropping Winter off at the entrance, she had returned in time for last period. "Please text me the address of the home I will be picking you up from." Winter nodded, "I know. I'll see you later," she walked up the ramp, hobbling along with her cane. The last period bell rang, Winter sliding into her seat. Claude was in this class too, it seemed. History and the Glory of the Chrysanthemum. When the period ended at last, Winter took her time making her final notes before placing everything in her bag. "Claude, Janet gave me permission to go. Um, as long as we don't take public transporation." She was still banned from that.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







Luckily for Claude and Winter - and not luckily at all for poor Elise - a limo was waiting for them just outside the school's gates. People gawked and stared as they always did, but it wasn't as if the Von Hresvelgs were the only wealthy students at the Chrysanthemum City Center. "I live up on 11 Sacred Hill, a limo drives me back and forth." He gave Winter a smile, the family's chauffeur stepping out and reaching for their book bags. "If you wish, I can help you in." Vincent, the chauffeur, offered, his mustache twitching in an inviting smile. "It's not a long drive, you can kick back and relax if you want. Don't worry, we aren't that fancy." Claude waited for Winter to enter the vehicle first as Vincent dutifully held the door open for her.

"My sister's... well, I guess you'll find out." He chuckled, wondering how this was going to go. Elise used to love being social, she was quite obnoxious when she was younger. She wasn't so bad now, but she also never left her room willingly either.

Up the gladed ill the limo went until the Estate was in view, pretty in mahogany. The gate scanned Vincent's retinas and swung open, allowing the limo to enter and park just outside the house. "Tell Vincent where you live so he can drop you off when you're ready to leave." Claude advised Winter, getting out of the way so Winter could exit the limosine. "Unregistered vehicles aren't really allowed on the premises." He sighed, taking a deep breath as he opened the door and entered. His mother was atop the stairwell on the second floor, doing a little curtsy. "Hello! You brought over a friend! Hello, Claude's friend! My name is Cynthia, and please enjoy your stay." Claude grinned, shaking his head. "Don't get weird mom, it's just for a class project." Cynthia looked delighted, however. "She's so pretty! I recognize her from this morning's paper! Ms. Winter, was it? Are you staying over for dinner?" She wanted a list of any food preferences and allergies on the off-chance Winter wanted to stay over that late.

"Mom's a bit pushy, but don't feel pressured into staying if you can't." Claude added helpfully, a bashful smile on his face. "Let's go take you to my sister. She's a student too, but she has special... circumstances." Right next to his room was his sister's room. The door had a single decoration on it, warning anyone to not disturb her. Naturally, Claude knocked on the door, disregarding the sign completely. "Hey, Liss? I have a classmate over, we need to see you." He heard a bump and then a yelp of panic. "Wh-why? What did I do wrong? A-are you punishing me, Claude! You clod!" Claude grinned, his blonde hair a stark contrast to Elise's raven locks. "You should come out and say hi, since we've been grouped together with her for a class project.

There was silence from the other end for a moment. "P-pro-project! B-but why?!" Elise exclaimed, afraid. "I-I'm not going out! It'll st-start raining, it always rains when I go out, I'm staying in here!" Claude slipped a key into his hand from his bag and sighed. "Alright, we'll be coming in then." He unlocked the door and swung it open, Elise was scrambling to hide under the covers but he knew her antics. If she wanted to stay hidden away, she needed do get a good score on this. "Winter, this is my troublesome sister, Elise." He pulled the blanket off of her, revealing Elise's polkadot pajamas. She blushed ferociously, whimpering as she tried to hide her face. "And Elise, this is our team member, Winter Matsuri. Now, shall we get started?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| [url=SONGURL]songname || artist[/url] ||







A limosene awaited to pick them up. It wasn't unusual, there were plenty of wealhy families that went to the City Center. If it weren't for scholarships and awards, Winter would probably still be living in the countryside. If it wasn't for that musical teacher, she would be living a simple life of farming. Her hand tightened around her cane, no, she had to stop thinking like that. There was no one to blame for the terrorist attack but the terrorist. Winter shook her head, following Claude down the ramp and to the car that awaited them. Sleek and white, she had been in a limosense once before, but had always taken public transport up until the incident. One of her friends, who had died during the attack, would travel by limo. "I can get it on my own," Winter shook her head, denying the assistance. Just because she walked with a limp did not mean that she was crippled.

Winter sat on the bench inside and scooted in, her cane leaned against the seat. "Fancy?" Winter repeated, blinking. "And here I thought taking limosenes to and from school was a completely normal instance." She waved a hand in front of her face, leaning back. She wasn't one much for media, she would watch soap operas with her Grandmother, and listen to music, but now that her Grandmother was gone, Winter hardly turned on the television. Janet enjoyed it though and sometimes Winter would sit in front of it at night to listen to the dull drone of the evening news when she couldn't sleep. Otherwise, she might have recognized Claude's last name. Claude chuckled, mentioning his sister, Winter wondered what sort of illness kept her confined to their home. Cancer, maybe? Or some auto immune disorder?

They pulled up to the gate, Claude sticking his head out the window. The gate rolled open, the limo entering the grounds of what could only be called an estate. There was groomed shrubbery and roses, a lawn that looked like it had never been played on, and marble columns leading up to the house. It was by far, the most extravagant home Winter had ever visited. She scooted out of the car, placing her cane down on the gravel first before stepping out. She followed behind Claude, up the grand staircase of his home, aking the steps slowly so as not to lose her balance. "Hello," it seemed she was already recognized. She stepped into a half curtsy, "Claude has told me much about you, but his description of your wonderous home and beauty have not done you justice." Claude had told her nothing, but flattery went a long way with the rich, as Winter had learned quickly.

Claude's mother insisted that Winter stay for dinner, but she would have to ask Janet for permission. "Anything is fine with me, although I don't know if I'm allowed to stay that long." Winter was on curfew, after all. She was not allowed outside after certain hours, even if she had been acquited of any charges in connection to the terrorists. "That's alright, I'm sure she means well." Winter followed Claude up another winding staircase, this one so tall she was nearly out of breath at the top. Their house had far too many floors, Winter thought, as they walked down a hallway to a door with a sign that said not to disturb anyone within. Claude knocked anyway, completely disregarding the sign and unlocking the door. Winter wondered what sort of lawless land this home was where you could enter a room that said not to enter it.

He turned the lights on, a girl scrambling beneath a blanket to stay hidden. Was there no sterile protocol to follow? Winter wondered, standing awkwardly in the doorway, her school bag hanging off of one shoulder. "Hello Elise," Winter waved, wondering if they would be doing the project in the room. It was neat, clean, kept, but also chaotic, in a way Winter had never seen. There were posters framed, lining the walls, of pop idols and miniature figurines laid out on shelves. There were rows and rows of graphic novels, the likes of which Winter had never seen. One desk stood a computer and headphones with glowing cat ears, gentle rainbow strobe lights glimmering beneath the desk. The carpet looked thick and plush, as though it had never been stepped on and pushed to one corner of the room was a four poster bed.

Even on the farm, Winter's room had never looked anything as glamorous as this, with crown molding on the ceiling and a door handle, she just noticed, that had lace on it. "You were telling me before about your piano?"

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







What was Elise supposed to do about this? Sure, she was used to Claude's visits by now. Even if she didn't like him being around, he was the only one she allowed to look at her disgusting scarred face. Sure, the plastic surgery happened but Elise refused to believe that it changed anything. She still saw herself as a horrible disfigured monster, someone who didn't deserve to be on the big screen ever again. Even if Cynthia was charmed by Winter, even if Winter was a prodigal musician, Liss wanted nothing to do with any of this mess. "She wants to play the grand piano. You're coming along to listen, aren't you, Liss?"

"A-and why would I do that!" Elise snapped, hiding her face inside Mr. Stuffles' black and white plush body, her most loyal of subjects. "Y-you can go flirt with Winter all you want, I'm st-staying here!" Claude sighed, it was clear he had a lot to deal with in trying to police his sister's behavior. "You might want to be nice to our guest here, or she'll spread rumors about how you sit around hugging a cow all day." Rumors? But Elise didn't want there to be rumors flying about her! "F-fine! I-I'll come, just give me a moment... I need to... prepare." She finished lamely, snapping on a scarf so she could wrap it around her face. "Now you look like a religious person. I'm sure Winter doesn't care what you look like." He pulled the scarf away against her pitiful mewling protests.

With Elise grudgingly trudging along behind them, Claude lead Winter down the hallway. "We have a home theater of sorts, where sometimes we invite musicians to play. Usually they bring their own instruments, but we have a grand piano kept in top condition, since it's rather hard for a pianist to bring a piano all the way to the Chrysanthemum." Elise made a face, hiding behind her faithful Mr. Stuffles "Don't like it when Cynthia does it." She mumbled unhappily. "A house sh-shouldn't have strangers in it, that's ... just weird." She shook her head, her ruby eyes squinting sadly ahead.

The theater room was grand, it was built specifically to enhance the acoustics of the room, a circular shape with the stage right in the middle. The grand piano was covered in a tapestry, but Claude went over to pull the string to lift it, revealing the priceless instrument. "Why don't we get Winter to play us a song to inspire us for the project?" He handed Elise the paper to ponder over and read the instructions, which only made her more unhappy. "Miss Daffodil clearly hates me for making this project." She pouted, sitting down in the front row with Mr. Stuffles at her side. Trigonometry, useful applications to the world? There was no such thing!

"Elise thought you were the best performer last night." Claude said cheerfully, glad that his sister was finally out of her room. It clouds were gathering outside the windows, you could see the rain threatening to start. Why did this always happen when Elise left her room? It was a mystery, one no one in the Von Hresvelg household knew the answer for. "I can't help but agree, your music was quite charming." Vincent knocked on the theater's door before Winter could get started. "I have snacks." He said, a tray of sizzling tea and tea cakes ready, decorated with pretty colors. "Gwah!" Elise snapped, almost jumping a mile off her seat. "D-d-don't scare me like that, Vincent!" Claude accepted the tray gratefully, then offered a cup of tea to Winter.

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| [url=SONGURL]songname || artist[/url] ||







Winter watched the two siblings argue, wondering if she would spend the entirety of her visit standing in this doorway. Eventually, the two seemed to smarten up and Claude led Winter around the house, down to what Winter believed was the ground floor and to a room with a gold plaque that announced itself to be the theater. It was grand, certianly, but not on the scale of the venue Winter performed in. "Miss Daffodil left months ago. Our trigonomatry teacher is Professor Elk." Miss Daffodil had supposedly had a mental breakdown and disappeared from teaching. Which was fine, since Winter had hardly attended the class since she had returned to school. Claude pulled a curtain, the grand piano in all of its splendor, the color white, sitting propped on a platform that must have been their stage.

"Thank you Elise, that's very kind." Winter took a teacup from Vincent's tray, giving it a subtle sniff. Djarling, that would do. She placed two sugar cubes into the tea and stirred, taking a sip. She liked her tea sweet, just like her cake. "Thank you Vincent," Winter took another sip and placed her tea down, walking up the two steps onto the platform where the piano was. She lifted the lid, running her fingers over the keys and adjusting the bench. She pushed on the pedals to test them, fidgeting, taking her time. It wasn't nerves, no, Winter was never nervous during a performance. "Any requests?" She inquired, removing her gloves. She placed them on the bench beside her, resting her fingers on the keys, feeling them.

If one looked closely, they could see small snowflakes sticking to the surface of her skin. The tips of her fingers were slightly purple, as though they were cold, despite the comfortable temperature in the room. "Alright," she breathed, looking upwards, then pressing down on the first few keys. River Flows In You, the first song she had commited to memory with her music teacher. Piano was only one of the ten instruments she played but by far one of her favorites. The song drifted through the air, the delicate notes heavy. Her head tilted back as she was playing, the music flowing through her. It was as though there were flurries in the room, drifting down on them. It was gentle and delicate, a moment frozen in time, the way music should be played.

When it ended, Winter looked down at the keys, her eyes widening. There was ice on them. She closed the lid quickly and replaced her gloves, reaching for her cane. "We should probably began working on our project." After all, they only had two weeks until it was due. "Elise if you don't want to work with us, then we can't put your name on it." Winter rose, leaning on her cane. She would not give credit to someone who hadn't done anything. Winter picked up her cup of tea, taking a sip. She hadn't heard from Janet yet, which she was relieved about. Perhaps Janet was giving her a bit of independence? Or maybe the network in Claude's home wasn't as good? Winter sat down in one of the theater seats and took out her backpack, rifling through her papers.

They had been given a packet on what they were expected to do. They were supposed to write an advertisement and come up with an idea on a product to help make trigonomotry easier. "Oh, look at that." Winter gestured towards the window. "The rain stopped," she had expected it to, considering there hadn't been a cloud in the sky when she had gotten here. In fact, it had been a beautiful day.

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







Apparently Daffodil left months ago? Elise made a face, scowling. "Th-then Elk hates me, I don't care. They all hate me." She buried her face further into her best friend Mr. Stuffles, clinging close so that her face wouldn't be revealed even as Winter went up on stage. Vincent left to return to his duties after delivering the snacks as required. Winter asked for any music requests, so Claude would answer for her. "Play whatever you want, we just want to hear the music." He said, a friendly expression on his face as he looked up towards the stage. It really did start to rain, didn't it? Elise was cowering as always, but the once the music started up the rain started to let up a little as well, the droplets plinking against the window to the tune of the music.

Once it was over Claude made sure to give his applause. "You applaud too, Liss." He told his antisocial sister, who scowled. "I-it was good! It was, b-but, can I go back to my room now." She whimpered, clearly uncomfortable with all of this. "Did your creative juices start spinning? Did my genius sister think of anything yet?" Elise was the type of girl to quickly understand something after only thinking about it a little, as opposed to someone like Claude, who had to work hard to keep up in these advanced classes. "I-I don't want to, but my i- my safety's b-being held hostage!" She was definitely going to do her part, as painful as it was. "As long as she keeps her grades up she's allowed to work from home." Claude explained for Winter's benefit. "She's, well, very motivated to make sure her grades stay high." Not that it mattered, but Elise was at the top of her year in all classes.

"W-well, I, um, I started working on s-something like this." One part of trigonometry was proving identities of equations. Were you able to prove that two sides of an equation were equal? This was one of the more advanced parts of the subject, one a lot of students had trouble with. Elise tinkered with her holo phone until an image showed up on the screen. "S-so I made a calculator... I-i'll make it b-be able to, um..." With Claude and Winter both looking at her Elise's brain fuzzled out.

She shook her head, blushing deeply. "P-please stop staring at me! I d-didn't do anything wrong!" Claude grinned, amazed. "So we can plug in the equations and the calculator will solve it for us?" Elise shook her head, pouting all the while. "N-no! Of c-course not! It only shows i-if it's provable or n-not..." The student still had to do the work, the calculator would only help guide them towards the right answer. "I-I made this... so you two c-can write the pr-presentation part?" The rain seemed to have stopped, which was nice. "What did I tell you? My sister's a genius!" A deep blush went on her face and she quivered, not used to compliments even now. "N-no! No! I'm not, I'm not at all!" As her panic began to rise, the clouds began to darken again.

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







Winter nodded slowly, looking at the hologram that Elise had created. She noticed that Elise was growing frustrated and as such, the clouds outside began to darken and thicken. She turned back towards Elise, glancing at her hands, but there was no condensation on them like on Winter's. No, it must have been coincidence, she shook her head. "I can prepare the slide show, if you want to write the paper, Claude?" Winter offered, this way they could divide the effort equally into three parts. "We can meet after school again to check on our progress tomorrow, if you'd like?" Winter would seize this small opportunity for freedom, to go somewhere aside from school, the apartment, and that building made of glass that spiraled towards the sky. "Of course, I wouldn't want to impose." She sensed that they would prefer to meet here, rather than in her own home however.

Of course, she did not have permission to bring people back to the apartment. She would need to speak with the psychologist again if she wished to get approval. Winter smoothed out the skirt of her uniform, of course a school as prestigious as the City Center had an optimal uniform for its students, one that provided modest elegance, their only freedom allowed in the color of their backpack. Even their hats, which were arranged in color based on what your merits were, were chosen by the school. Winter's own hat was white, a music student. "Elise, I don't know what your circumstances are, but I certainly hope you'll be able to present with us, as 30% of our grade for this project is presentation based."

Elise, Winter quite thought, was much like a rabbit. Skiddish, in that she hid herself behind every little thing at the slightest sound, but she also exuded an odd sort of life-force, the kind that drew others around her. It was no wonder her brother was trying to woo her out of the safety and confines of her bedroom. As nice as the room was, it reminded Winter much of a gilded prison. Beautiful to those on the outside, but devastatingly lonely on the inside. Winter shook her head, this was only their first meeting, she could not say such things to Elise, who was sitting right there. Although, one should not despise the rabbit, who was naturally skiddish in nature.

Her phone buzzed, it was Janet. "I apologize, it seems Janet is waiting outside of the gates of your home." It was difficult, if not impossible, for Winter to type a reply to Janet, even on a holo phone, while wearing gloves. Janet was well aware that the likelihood of Winter replyign was slim. "I think it's probably time to take my leave." She glanced outside, noticing that the rain clouds had begun to part once more. "Would you mind showing me the way out? Your house is a bit like a maze and I'm afraid of getting trapped in the center." She also had a sneaking suspicion and she needed to question Claude as to whether or not her guess was true.

Was the rain related to Elise?

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







Winter needed to go home now, someone named Janet was tending to her. Was Winter also from a wealthy family, and Janet was her version of a Vincent? Elise didn't know, but she didn't care either. This was excellent news. The sooner Winter left the sooner she could return to the safety of her sanctuary. The music had been nice, but was it worth the pain of showing her disgusting face to someone? "Hey, be polite. Say goodbye to our new friend." Claude told her, wiggling a finger while chastising her. "What? Are you torturing me?" Who needed friends when you had a Mr. Stuffles? "Thank you for your time, Winter, I'm glad you accepted the invitation." He would work on the speech, writing out parts for all three of them to advertise the trigonometry identities calculator.

"A good host would at least walk her to the exit." Claude nudged her unhelpfully. She scowled, giving him a sharp glare from behind the safety of Mr. Stuffles' big soft body. Still she stood up from her chair in which she was seated and began to trudge towards the exit. Claude, with a lackadaisical expression, followed shortly after. Winter wanted help getting back to the exit, and he was happy to oblige. They caught Cynthia on the way to the dinner room, all dolled up and fine. "Are you staying for dinner?" She asked, with expectant eyes. "Sorry, mom, Winter's gotta go home for the night." Cynthia nodded, accepting it. "Well, you're welcome to eat over any time you wish, Miss Winter, dear." Cynthia was charmed by her, she always was a bit naive compared to Elise's own mother.

Outside the front gates there was a somewhat disgruntled suited woman. She couldn't get in because she didn't have a registered retina that would grant her access onto the premises. Elise made a face and decide to cower by the door, the rain drenching the gardens. She refused to take another step. "Now, what do you say when a friend is leaving for the day?" Claude asked, grinning maliciously. "U-uhh-urrg. B-bye. D-don't get wet!" Claude pressed a button to grant the suited woman access, the gates swinging open. "Wait under here so you don't get wet." He said helpfully, pointing at the little awning above the front door. "Your mom can drive up to here and-" His hand brushed accidentally against Winter's gloved hand and a puzzled expression came across his face.

Elise gave him an odd stare, wondering what happened. "You should invest in getting better gloves, your hands don't feel very insulated." Claude said with a slight, peculiar smile. "Maybe thicker gloves would warm your hands up."

Eventually it was dinner time at the table. Jeralt was still out, he would be gone on movie making business for the next few weeks it seemed. It was a small dinner table compared to how austere the family was. Cynthia forced Elise to sit at the dinner table for once, considering she was already out of the room. "You should eat with us more often so the servants don't have to bring food to your room each night." Cynthia said gently, reaching for the gourmet food decorating the table. "U-um... i-it's not my fault! Th-they chose to do it on their own!" She could just sneak out past midnight to find snacks if they cared so much about her nutrition. "I-I'm go-gonna go sleep!" She was drained. Today was too much social interaction for one Elise, that's for sure.

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







"I apologize, perhaps another night." Winter said to the matron of the household as she followed Claude to the exit, Elise slinking behind them, acting more like a shadow than a human. The girl seemed rather miserable, but Winter couldn't help but attribute that to her seemingly self-inflicted isolation. They walked towards the door, Winter unable to ask the question in the back of her mind and forgetting it anyhow. She had no idea what she was going to do for the slideshow, but Winter figured she would figure it out once she returned home. "Janet isn't my Mother," Winter replied as they reached the door. She could see Janet on the other side of the gate and for a moment, Winter almost wondered how she had found them as Winter had not texted her the address.

Then she recalled the bracelet around her ankle and figured that had more to do with the harried expression Janet wore. As soon as the gates began to part, Janet drove the car up the gravel driveway, Winter waiting so as not to get wet, per Elise's suggestion. She moved quickly when Claude suddenly brushed against her, instinct. "I would never," Winter replied with a shake of her head. "These were my Mother's gloves." They were white leather, embroidered by hand and dusted with little pearls. "I wouldn't dream of replacing them." Janet pulled the car up, the door popping open. "I'll see you tomorrow at school Claude, it was nice meeting you Elise." Winter had a bit of trouble the steps with her cane, but she managed to navigate and sat herself down in the seat.

"We had an agreement that you would text me the address." Janet said as soon as Winter closed the door to the car and leaned back in the seat. "Well, they offered to drive me home so I didn't think it was necessary." She could see the nerve in Janet's forehead bulge. Winter took satisfaction in that and strapped in, the car pulling away. The clouds seemed to part once more as soon as they drove and Winter looked back, noticing something odd. It was only their estate that seemed to be swallowed by the rain. Everywhere else in the Chrysanthemum had sunny skies. They returned to the apartment, taking the elevator up. "Dinner will be ready soon," Janet mentioned, Winter tossing her bag on the table and heading straight to the piano. "Don't you have homework?" Janet inquired as soon as Winter sat on the bench. "Since when do you care?"

She removed her gloves, her hand suddenly grabbed. "Don't touch me!" Winter yelled instinctually, but Janet's grip was tight. "Your fingers are blue," she took a photo, intending to send it to the Doctors who watched over her. She grumbled, rubbing her fingers as Janet marched away, not saying another word. Her fingers touched the key, but this time, there was no ice. With a breath of relief, Winter played, but soon grew bored with practicing for her next competition. She closed the lid on the piano and went to the wall, picking up a viola and its bow. "Dinner," Winter sighed and placed it down, grabbing her cane and shuffling to the table. "What's this?" She sniffed the ominous looking drink sitting beside her place.

"Your supplement, drink it." Winter made a face and turned to the plate of fried subsance and egg with rice. She poked it with a fork, finding it to be suitable and ate it slowly, taking sips of the grey looking sludge that tasted like vanilla and chalk. When that was done, Winter started on her homework at last, including the slide show she was meant to do. She finished around midnight and went to take a bath, suddenly slipping, hitting her elbow hard against the ground. Janet rushed in at hearing her cry of pain and assisted Winter up, carrying her to her room. "I can walk," she grumbled, but as usual, Janet did not answer. She set Winter on her bed and went about examining the elbow she had hit. "Just a bruise," the woman nodded with satisfaction. It took a while for Winter to fall asleep after that, her elbow throbbing.

"Live for us Winter."

"I don't want to die."

"Please, someone help us!"

Winter bolted upright, shivering. It was snowing, but she was not at home. She was in the field behind her house, a red shrine gate stark against the background. She rose, testing her balance and walked with little effort underneath the gate, the breath stolen from her as she was suddenly falling. "Hang on!" A hand grasped her wrist, yanking her, keeping her from impending doom. Then she was floating, sitting on a cloud, she opened one eye slowly, then the other. "We finally meet, Winter Matsuri."

It was a boy with blue hair, his eyes the color of starlight. He wore robes adorned in silkin blues and whites, with snowflakes that danced on the outside. "It's you," she breathed, the landscape changing once more. She was standing atop a building in the Chrysanthemum, but did not know where. "Yes, it's me, but that's not my name." He took both of Winter's hands in his own, "I see the effects of my power are settling nicely into your vessel." Vessel? What did that mean? Winter blinked, not understanding. "What's your name? What is this? Why did you do this to me!" She attempted to back away, but there was nowhere to go.

"All good questions. My name is Yuuki and I am the Heir of Snow." All around them, it was snowing, a blizzard storming, but Winter did not feel cold. "I was looking for an earthly vassal when you cried out to me." Cried out to him? She blinked dumbly. "What do you mean?" Winter whispered. "You said you didn't want to die, didn't you?" He grabbed her hands once more. "Oh and I couldn't be happier! What lovely sounds these delicate hands of yours make!" He'd been watching her? For how long?

"No, this is a mistake. Take it back, you're ruining my life!" She shoved him away, panicked, teetering on the edge of the roof. He grasped her as they fell, the landscape changing again. They fell into a snow bank, a white dragon soaring overhead. "The more you reject it, the more painful it will become. Accept it Winter," he took her hand and squeezed it.

"Accept me."



"No!" Janet burst through the door, which flew off of its hinges. The room was covered in ice, her breath fogging in the air. Winter shivered, glancing at Janet, whose eyes were wide. "I'm calling the Doctor. Now."

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







It was a new day now, and Elise hoped that today would be far less eventful than yesterday had. She glowered as Claude left to go to school. Elise's phone went up and she whimpered, not liking it. "Hey, there! I made a group for the three of us to talk!" It was a message from Claude, a group conversation popped up, titled "The Best Trigonometry Project". Students at the Chrysanthemum City Center were given accounts at an online school Network, where students could message each other and send friend requests and other such things. It was a useful communication tool that allowed the students to be connected to the rest of the school without having to share any personal contact information. "Do we have to talk?"

"Come on, Liss, it'll be easier for you this way." Claude replied and Liss decided to shut her phone off for the day. She sighed, wondering what to do now that she's had too much social interaction today.

On the way to school, as the limo was going up the street, Claude sent a private message to Winter this time. There was something intriguing about her. Winter was similar to Elise in that they both seemed to keep to themselves, though Liss was much more dramatic about it. Could Winter be the one to pull his sister out of her sanctuary? He tried his best, but he wasn't going to be enough for Elise. "You should come over again so we can do a practice run of the presentation." Claude typed on his holophone. "Also, do you like old horror movies?"

Elise fell to the floor, a dramatic pained wringing of her hand as she brought it to her chest. "No, Princess! G-get away! I'll stay back... so you escape this place." She stood up and held an imaginary sword in front of her, waving it in front of some imaginary enemies. Then she stepped backwards and made a worried face, reaching out with her hands. "No, sir knight! I saw that wound, you're not going to make it! I won't leave you!" She was play acting a scene, being both characters in the latest book she was reading. The former starlet loved playing as characters, there was a reason why she had a green hat, she was officially signed as a dramatic arts student.

"Y-you have to go! We have no time!" The door suddenly opened, revealing a very embarrassed maid. "U-um... here's your lunch, miss." The maid blushed deeply and Elise fell back to the floor, startled. "Wh-why?! D-don't spy on a lady!" Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes as the humiliation crawled up her spine. "Um... I was knocking for the past ten minutes... and the food is getting cold." The maid did a quick bow and scurried away. All the serving staff had keys of course, but Elise wished that her sanctuary was better protected. "Urrgh, come on, Liss, stop letting it bother you..." She muttered to herself after locking the door shut again. "You used to act all the time, wh-who cares if someone's watching?" But she wasn't doing a very good job at convincing herself.

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







Despite Winter's adament protest, Janet lifted her right out of bed and slung Winter over her shoulder, carrying her down to the car. Winter was not happy, to say the least. "Can't this wait until the weekend? I have school in the morning." She crossed her arms, not wanting to go anywhere near that place for the second time this week. "No," Janet replied sternly, getting behind the wheel. Winter would've tried to get more sleep, only she wasn't in the mood to try and rest. Nighttime was different in the city, where there seemed to be no cars and no one else around. The Chrysanthemum was immaculate, wherein its homeless population was near zero and those that did find themselves on the streets had plenty of places to find shelter.

When they reached the parking lot, there was already a team waiting there. "Is all of this necessary?" Winter grumbled as they forced her into a wheelchair, but thankfully did not use the straps. She let them wheel her inside and transfer her to an exam table. "009, please give us a summar of this evening's events." Her gloves were forced off of her hands while Janet told them what had happened. "When Subject X took off her gloves this evening I noticed there to be ice on her fingertips." Her hand was grabbed as Janet spoke and examined, her fingertips were indeed covered in delicate snowflakes. "At around 0200, the Subject began to scream in terror. Upon knocking the door down, I discovered the entire room covered in the ice and the door having been frozen shut."

"We'll ran the normal tests now," the Doctor droned, Winter laying back with a sigh as she was proked and prodded, forced to undress so that they could look at every inch of her body. She underwent a scan and had her blood taken. She knew not to fight it, that it was inevitable. The words of her nightmare still rang through her mind, the more she tried to fight it, the more painful the rejection would be. Winter took in a deep breath, she needed to stop fighting it, or else it would get worse. "Try to get some rest Ms. Matsuri," the Doctor pat her leg, they vacated the room for the time being, leaving Winter with an IV and Janet to watch over her, just in case she did something stupid. "They're going to make me leave school, aren't they?" Winter asked, draping an arm over her eyes. Janet did not answer, she never did.

She was awoken sometime closer to dawn, it seemed they had observed her for long enough. Winter sat upright as the IV was removed, a bandaid placed over the spot. "We'd prefer if you kept to yourself for now. No school today, but just until we get your results." Winter nodded, her hands balling into fists. "Fine, but Janet has to call them." She instinctively reached for her cane, only to recall that it wasn't there. Janet wheeled her to the car. "Just try to rest," Janet said when they got home, carrying Winter inside and placing her on her bed. The ice was gone by now, having disappeared as though it didn't exist. She nodded her head, watching Janet leave. Her phone was buzzing, the first period bell would be ringing any minute now. Winter picked up her phone, seeing a message from Claude.

I can't come to school today, but can you pick me up later? Winter texted back. She was feeling a little bit rebellious today. She looked around her empty room, knowing that Janet had told her to get some rest, no doubt in the kitchen, preparing breakfast. "Okay Yuuki, I'll accept you." She whispered, pulling the blanket up to her chin, feeling suddenly cold.

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







After getting Winter's address, Claude nodded, and sent it to Vincent. "Here, after school, when you pick me up, can you go to this address and pick her up too? It's Winter, my new friend." Hopefully Claude wasn't wrong in trying to set Winter and Elise up together, but he saw this as a rare opportunity to help his sister finally escape her golden cage. Elise, who used to shine so brightly in front of the camera as if she was born under it, could not even leave her room anymore. It was a shame, and Claude was determined to find a way to help her. He still didn't know why he felt so compelled to do this - maybe it was out of respect to Miss Maribelle, who had been friends with Cynthia? Ever since the explosion, he and Liss seemed to put their old grudges and grievances away.

As school ended, Claude and Vincent rolled up at Winter's house. It was modest, quite a bit more modest than the Von Hresvelg Estate, that much was for sure. It was a quaint little part of the neighborhood, the other houses were built nearly identical to Winter's. In some newer areas of the Chrysanthemum, they copy and pasted the same house design to save design money and time. Claude exited the limo and rang the doorbell. "Hey, Winter! I'm here to pick you up." A part of him wondered why the Janet woman from earlier wasn't able to drive Winter to the Von Hresvelg Estate, but he decided not to worry about that part. He watched as Winter entered the car and tried not to laugh at Vincent struggling not to try and ask if she wanted help. He was an old traditional man, no doubt it was difficult to resist the urge to try to help any lady he saw.

After they were nice and settled in the limo and Vincent began driving off, Claude looked over towards Winter, giving her a bit of a wink. "As you know, my sister's a little... strange. She wasn't always like this, but - well, did you hear of the terrorist bombing a few years ago? At the concert hall?" He remembered that day well. It was by pure instinct that he covered Elise with his body, but he wasn't able to save her face. His back had quite a few scars as proof of his poor attempt to protect her. "We were caught in it, and Liss's never been the same since." The psychologist called it trauma, but Jeralt refused to try any possible medications to fix the issue.

"No! Why again! I wanted a day off from this!" Elise whined as Claude and Winter arrived at her room. "I-I can't do social interaction twice in a row! This is against my rights!" Claude sighed, taking her by the arm. This time she was wearing striped pajamas and Mr. Stuffles was wearing a tie around his neck. "I finished writing our presentation speeches, so we need to practice timing the speech with the slide show so it all fits." He said with a smile. "You want a good grade so that you'll be allowed to stay at home, don't you?"

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







Winter glanced at her phone, around the time school ended, Janet had mentioned that she was going to go shopping. It would give Winter just the right amount of time to sneak out of the house. She spent the rest of the time waiting, being inconspicuous. She practiced her recital piece, polished her instruments, filled out the homework sent to her through the school homework portal, and put the finishing touches on their slide shows. Janet made lunch, making Winter drink another one of those horrid shakes. Winter played violin for a few hours afterwards, getting lost in the music as she sat beside the glass wall of windows overlooking the city. "Winter, I'm leaving now." Janet said, locking the door behind her. She waited, knowing just how long it would take for Janet to take the elevator down the hall and to the car.

Winter waited, biding her time. When the voice message came in from Claude, she rose, grasping her cane and her backpack full of school work. "I'm coming," she buzzed back, locking the door behind her. She took the elevator down, finding Claude waiting right at the door. "Hello," she greeted, entering the limosene and taking a seat on the bench. "I've been meaning to ask you-" but Claude went first. Winter nodded, leaning back in the seat, her hand tightening around the strap of her bag. "I was there too," Winter said softly. "My whole family was there, as were many of my friends from the City Center." She walked past their faces everyday in what used to be the trophy case, which had become a memorial for all of the students who had been killed.

She took out her phone, bringing up the article. Winter Matsuri had been infamous for a while, "They thought I was connected to the terrorist attack," she said softly, "I was acquited of all charges." She wouldn't say the rest, mostly because she wasn't allowed to and she didn't want Claude to think her to be crazy. Her hands were covered in gloves once more, the delicate white leather ones that had belonged to her Mother. "It's why I walk with a cane," her leg had been horribly mangled, she had to have multiple surgeries on it to set it straight, including a cage that had kept the leg bent at a certain angle for nearly two months.

"Sorry," Winter shrugged her shoulders in a sheepish apology. "But I can't afford to fail either." She placed her bag down and took her tablet out, the projector starting up to project an image of the slide show on the wall. It was extensive, Winter had put a lot of thought into it, including product models, possible selling prices, and ways to keep students from using the product for cheating on tests. "I went so far as to instill a business model, even though I doubt we'll ever need it since this product is just for school." Winter brushed her hair out of her face, turning to her project partners and wondering how she had gotten stuck with an outlandish boy and a recluse.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







It seemed that Winter wasn't a fan of old horror movies, which was where Elise's roots were from. She was a quite emotionless little girl before being taken in by his father, so it made sense why they cast her in those kinds of roles. She branched out more after going under Jeralt's wing, though, and up until the explosion, continued to improve as an actress. There were many who grieved as the Black Eagle pulled out of public life, retreating from all eyes and ears. It was odd how destiny worked though. So Winter Matsuri had been involved in the terrorist attack four years ago as well? "Well, I'm glad you survived then." He said, unsure how to feel about this development. "And now we can be friends!" Claude was good at making "friends", but he wasn't very good at making friends. He was well liked and popular, but tended to keep people at a distance at school.

As Vincent drove them up the gladed hill and the gate opened, Claude remembered something from earlier. "Wait, wasn't there something you wanted to ask me before I interrupted you?" He asked with a little frown. It wouldn't do to talk over a potential friend this early in the friendship, that's a good way to scare someone away. As usual Claude went in, Vincent looked as if he wanted to help Winter walk - and Cynthia was very much delighted. "How do you keep knowing when Winter's coming?" Claude asked as his mother cheerfully greeted Winter as if she belonged here as well. "Oh, I have Vincent tell me so I can make sure I'm putting my my best face for you!" He grinned, twitching a little. "You don't have to do that, mother." Cynthia chuckled and then invited Winter to stay for dinner again, if she would be permitted to.

Elise was as disagreeable as always, but that was nothing new. Claude pulled her out of her room. "L-let me get dressed at least! You big clod, Claude!" He sighed, shaking his head. "It's fine, it'll only be a practice run, it doesn't matter if you're dressed up or not." She scowled, grinding her teeth as she clung to the big cow plush, nearly as big as Claude's torso. "A-at least do my makeup a bit." She wasn't going to get to hide behind Mr. Stuffles this time, so she wanted a little makeup done to hide her ugly scars that no longer existed, but no psychologist or anyone was able to convince her that the plastic surgery was a success.

After Claude did a little makeup to satiate his troublesome half sister, he handed out the speeches to introduce the Triangle Identities Calculator, as Elise so lovingly coined the product. "Here, I organized it so that I'll start it, Elise will have a small part in the middle, and Winter will be the strong finish we need." Claude said, showing them the marks he made to signify who would speak what. There needed to be a little adjusting here and there to make the script fit the slide show. "U-um... is the slide show ready... for the practice?" Elise asked, fiddling with her fingers in a nervous tic.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







Winter shook her head, "It's about the rain that Elise thinks is following her, but I guess that's a question for her." Had it really been four years since the bombing? Winter could barely remember. She had undergoing the same routine ever since she was released from the hospital and allowed back in school. Sometimes the days blurred together, sometimes Winter had trouble distinguishing one moment from the next. Was it because she barely ever slept? Or perhaps she seemed stuck in the past? Winter shook her head, no, that couldn't be it. She felt trapped between having to be watched all the time and only ever allowed to go places with permission from those watching over her. The worst part was she had no say. If she wanted this little freedom, she had to continue pleasing them.

"Yeah, the slide show is ready." Winter gestured to where she had it already set up and waiting, the projector fromm her phone showing the image on the wall. Her phone suddenly buzzed, Janet's caller ID popping up. Winter hung up quickly, she didn't have permission to be here. She swallowed hard, technically they had told her no school, they never said she couldn't come here. "Let's practice," Janet would call again, Winter knew. She didn't want to get Claude in trouble, but she also didn't want to go back to the apartment yet, where she would sit and wait to be given the all-clear to return to her daily life. Winter looked at the piece she was supposed to read, knowing that comitting something like this to memory would be easy. She could recall entire movie soundtracks at the tip of her tongue, surely a speech would be a piece of cake?

After running through it several times, Winter was beginning to grow bored of practice. After all, there were only so many times you could listen to Elise stumble through it and hide behind her plush toy. Weren't they the same age? Wasn't she embarrassed of her glass castle? Winter shook her head, recalling what Claude had said. This was a direct result of her trauma. "Elise, what if you tried acting it out instead of just reading it?" Winter suggested, crossing her legs. She was sitting on the floor, her cane slung across her lap. She was tired of standing and her knees had begun to shake. There came a soft knock from the door, "Claude?" It was Cynthia, "can you bring Winter out here? Her.... Mother is here to pick her up." She sounded nervous.

Winter groaned, knowing that this was going to happen sooner or later. She lifted her cane up and grabbed her school bag. "Sorry, it looks like our time today was cut short." She apologized, opening the door. Janet was here, along with two others. "You knew you weren't supposed to leave the house Ms. Matsuri," Winter swallowed hard. She was really in trouble if Janet had called for backup. "You said no school, you didn't say I couldn't come here." Winter stood her ground, she knew her rights. "Winter," Janet said sternly. "You were lucky I was able to track you here." Winter didn't want to do this here, not in front of these strangers. "Subject X, we request that you come with us for disciplinary action." They were going to think she was some kind of criminal.

"What if I say no?" She asked very softly, she could feel the ice creeping up her hands.

"What was that?"

"Fine," she tossed her school bag at one of the men Janet had brought for backup. "Sorry Claude, I'm not going to be at school for the rest of the week." Winter said as she stalked off.

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Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







It seemed that their practice session was cut short before Elise could try putting Winter's suggestion into practice. Cynthia came, and with someone else too, the woman from before. Elise had a feeling they weren't family, Janet and Winter looked too different. Janet's features were severe while Winter looked soft, like a snowflake that could crumble if the wind blew on it too hard. Claude glanced at Winter's ankle for a brief moment and Elise made sure to hide behind Mr. Stuffles the entire time. "Don't worry, Winter, I'll make sure we pass the presentation." He said, seemingly not having an awkward bone in his body. "I'll tell the teacher you'll be available to present some time next week. Hopefully you don't fall too far behind in your studies."

After dinner with an unhappy Cunthia, Claude forced himself into Elise's room. "Wh-what are you doing? I wanted to enjoy my alone time now!" The former star snapped, glowering as her privacy was once again invaded. "We need to talk." Claude said, pulling out his holo phone. He brought up information, comparing Janet's car to that of the car the Chrysanthemum issued to it's agents on the field. "It's the same car, I knew it. But Winter's not a criminal or anything." He shook his head, frowning. "What are you scheming?" Elise narrowed her eyes, having a bad feeling. WAs Claude going to meddle in something that didn't concern them?

"Winter told me that she was in the terrorist attack four years ago, but was acquitted of all charges. I checked the obituary from the incident, and it shows Winter's family members. That means she must live alone in that building, since I could only find her name on the property registry website." Elise glared at him. Why was he going so far for what was effectively a stranger? "There's clearly something fishy going on here, Liss. The government is doing something illegal with her. I can contact someone, we can get legal representation for Winter because according to the Child Liberty Law, all minors are to have limited interference from the Government, and are supposed to be given homes with proper adult supervision and care." But Janet didn't classify as that, it seemed more like she was someone keeping tabs on Winter.

"Especially with how Janet called her Subject X..." Elise felt a chill run up her spine when that happened. Calling a child Subject? "Is that why her hands are so cold?" Claude thought to himself. As Elise pondered the possibilities, the rain clouds began to form again, a light drizzle gently tapping against the blinded window. "L-look, before getting yourself involved in anything dangerous, use your head a little." Elise sighed, she needed to stop this before Claude did anything he couldn't take back. "I'm just going to make sure that Winter's not being used for anything bad." Claude said with a reassuring smile that did nothing to reassure the natural skeptic, Elise.

Did he not understand the risk? "If the Government is really willing to do something like this, without fear of repercussion, that means there's a reason for it, a reason normal civilians can't know, Claude!" Some sort of loophole or special exception that would make whatever they were up to legal. "It's not our business. If she wasn't supposed to go out, she shouldn't have gone out." Claude grinned, nodding. "I see. Then I need to gather more information." He saved the security tapes, already starting to keep his information for safe keeping. Obviously the Von Hresvelg property had many cameras and each equipped with a powerful microphone. They recorded the entirety of Janet's encounter here, which would help provide them clues.

Claude also noticed the similar black vehicles gathered outside the property. No doubt this was backup in case Winter tried to fight back.

When morning came, Claude pointed to the virtual newspaper, the Chrysanthemum Howler. "Look, Liss, look at this?" Elise didn't want to, she barely wanted to be up for breakfast at all. "Gordon Grant, a paparazzi journalist working for the Howler wrote an article!" Elise knew all about Gordon Grant. He was one of the most persistent hunters of the mysterious Black Eagle after all. "I-I don't want to know." Elise stared into her crepes. "Miss Winter Matsuri, winner of the Chrysanthemum Music Competition, was escorted away by several Government vehicles from the Von Hresvelg Estate. Could the Government be up to something fishy?"

Elise sighed, despite Claude's excitement. "Isn't this great? What if we use Gordon and feed him information and have him investigate for us?" Elise shook her head, knowing that this was idiocy. "Th-they're going to silence him. A-at least it means h-he'll be out of my hair." Tabloids were one of Elise's worst enemies, so if the Government was going to take out Gordon Grant, the sooner the better, really.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







Winter was taken right back to the building she had escaped from only this morning. She was escorted on all sides, inside of the building and to an isolation room. "You'll be staying here for the remainder of the week." They pat her down, confiscating her phone, school bag, and clothing. "You knew the risks of doing something like that. Ms. Matsuri," she nodded, having figured she would get caught. "I have a music competition this week. Violin," the warden paused for a moment. "I'll speak to the Psychologist," the door closed behind him. It was the room Winter had been kept in between surgeries and appointments, the one she had hoped she would never see again. There was a keyboard stuffed into one corner, not the same as the piano she had in the apartment. The only clothing provided would be the plain white robes that she would be forced to change into come bedtime.

Janet was stationed right outside the door, but Winter already knew that talking to her would be useless. She lay down on the bed, hearing yelling outside the door. "A child's psyche is fragile! You can't just lock her up for breaking one rule!" It was the psychologist, Winter would know her voice anywhere. "She broke the rules, she knew what would happen." The door opened, Winter sat up. Her cane had been taken as well, as it could be used as a weapon. "Ms. Matsuri, I'm so sorry about all of this," she shooed away the two wardens, who looked cross. "I knew it would happen, I did it anyway." She shrugged, avoiding the psycholgist's gaze. "I'm going to get you back home, don't worry. I've already given the approval for you to go to your competition." Winter nodded, likely that would be her only glimpse of the outside world this week.

It was morning before anyone returned, Janet opened the door, the Head Scientist looking cross. "I don't agree with it, but you're going to spend the rest of your isolation in your room in your apartment." Winter nodded, glad that she would be allowed to do that much. He handed Janet a bottle full of something, "these are for sleep. Don't think we didn't notice," she was given her clothes back, her phone was handed to Janet, she would be given it back at the end of the week. "Someone named Claude has been trying to get in touch with you this entire time. Make no mistake Ms. Matsuri, you might have gotten away with it this time, but we do have the power to erase you." She nodded, it had been a threat looming over her since day 1. Erase her existence, they would wipe every public record with her data, she would live here, unable to complete high school or pursue a musical career.

"Your teachers will be sending your homework to your school portal. Make sure you keep up with it," The Psychologist met them on their way to the car, Winter's cane having been returned to her. "I know," Winter nodded. She was quiet during the journey home, fidgeting with her gloves, glad they were back. They went straight up to the apartment, Winter flopping on her bed. "I'm making lunch, I'll deliver it to your room." She nodded, Janet locking the door behind her. Winter sighed heavily and slid to the ground, her room a mess. Well, if there was ever a better time to clean it, it would be now. She sighed as she rose, kneeling to pick up a piece of loose sheet music. "What's all this stuff?" Winter nearly jumped out of her skin, she would have screamed had she not been more careful.

"You!" The sheet music went fluttering to the ground. "Ah yes, me, the one that ruined your life." Yuuki was sitting on her bed, his hair glistening in the light of the afternoon. Snowflakes danced around him, dissipating as soon as they touched the sheets. "I heard your acceptance and I'm so glad you decided to call out to me." He held out a hand, "care to escape this place?" She shook her head. "I can't leave," she said softly. "I'm on isolation." He wrinkled his nose, "fine then, I'll kidnap you." He grabbed her, Winter screaming. She was suddenly falling, thousands of miles above the earth, plummeting towards the Chrysanthemum at high speed. "Do you do this all the time!" She screamed over the wind, her eyes watering. "No, only some of the time!"

They stopped falling, landing on a cloud as soft as cotton candy. "Janet is going to kill me." Winter looked over the city, at all of the normal people living normal lives. "It's time to teach you how to use your gifts." Her gifts? Was that what he was going to call this? "As my vassal, it's important that you always keep presentation in mind. Now, start by clapping your hands." Clap her... hands? "Okay," Winter said dumbly. "No, no, remove the gloves first." Her fingers curled protectively. "Nothing will happen if you don't." With a heavy sigh, she removed the gloves, clapping twice. "Great!" She heard a bell in her head, as though a string had pulled all of her limbs taught. "You're now connected to the boundary line!"

"The world between two worlds," he nodded. "So you do know some things already?" He grinned, nudging her. "I used to be fascinated by the Lore when I was a kid." He sat down in front of her, holding her hand. "Now, call upon my power. Focus, try to manifest one snowflake," she closed her eyes, envisioning it the same way she envisioned music notes. "I said one snowflake, not ten!" Her eyes snapped open, her hand was covered in them.

"Winter, lunch."

"Great, well, that ends today's lesson. Keep practicing Winter."

Her eyes snapped open, she was laying on the floor, Janet opening the door up. "Did you fall?" She asked, kneeling down. Winter shook her head. "No, I'm cleaning."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







"We're going to expose this abuse of power in the Government, and you're going to help me!" Claude said, and that was when Elise's life went from comfortable to true hell in a matter of moments.

Somehow Claude roped her into agreeing to meeting with Gordon Grant himself. They found themselves in one of the spare rooms of the Hresvelg Estate, and Gordon Grant, paparazzo galore with his square rimmed glasses and bushy red hair was here, grinning from ear to hear. "The Black Eagle is here! I'm seeing her with my own two eyes!" Claude tried very hard to meet him with and now, on a bright Saturday afternoon, the meeting was done. In exchange for agreeing to do a story of his choosing, Claude had no choice but to prostitute out poor Elise, forced to show her face at the meeting. She was a mixture of terror and panic, she couldn't even bring Mr. Stuffles to hide behind.

"Hello there, Mr. Grant, thank you for coming. Here are my evidences, do you think you'll be able to make use of this?" There was a lot of evidence of the Chrysanthemum abusing it's power to control a girl's life. He had records of the last four years, chronicling as much of Winter's life as he could. Using pictures of Elise as bribery, he managed to get one of the government agents to talk, revealing that Winter was often threatened with "erasure" and was barred from being transferred to a child care facility, or to have her name listed in the foster child program's list, where parents could foster a child in need and provide them a stable household. "And you managed to get all of this evidence?" Gordon's eyes were wide. "That's pretty impressive, Claude. I didn't realize the Von Hresvelg's had two talented children!"

Elise hoped Gordon would go starry eyes over her brother and learn to leave her alone then. Luckily she didn't have to speak or anything. "So, do you think you can make a story out of this?" Claude asked, sending all the files to Gordon. He of course, kept safe secure copies of the files for himself just in case anything went wrong. "Well, of course! Miss Winter is a treasure to our community, it would be a shame if her light was stamped out before she could become an adult!" As the two continued to talk about the exposing paper, Elise raised her hand. If they just published a story, the Government might retaliate and do something awful to them as revenge. She didn't want to be a part of that.

"Y-you should... um...." She frowned, narrowing her eyes, squinting at the air in front of her. "I-I think it would be a good i-dea to..." She wasn't good at talking with all of these eyes on her. "Go on." Claude nudged her gently. "It's okay, we won't judge you." Gordon seemed a little confused about her temperament but he didn't question it. "I-instead of... publishing right away... what if we went to someone with authority? Maybe that Janet woman..." Elise brought up her contact information. As a government official, it was required to have her information uploaded to a database and Elise was able to get in and receive it. "We could... threaten to publish the evidence of the government's mistreatment of an innocent, that way there won't be any fuss." They would, naturally, have to keep all of their information safe in multiple locations to make sure the authorities couldn't - all of a sudden Elise felt sick to her stomach. Pain was mounting in her head and then she slumped over, her eyes rolling up to their whites.

...


What was this? Where was she? Now that she saw it again, didn't she walk through a shrine like this once before? It was all so foggy, she couldn't make out anything but the outline of the shrine's gate, shooting up towards the sky. The area was wet and sticky, the air thick. Rain was pouring down hard like a torrential downpour. A strange girl stared at her, with dark muddy looking hair and skin so pale it looked blue in the mist surrounding them. "Wh-what's... what is this?" Elise stammered, wringing her hands. She didn't understand what any of this was.

The blue girl looked at her and said something but Liss couldn't hear it over the rain. "U-um..." She blushed deeply, looking away. Whatever this was, she wanted nothing to do with it! She just wanted to run off into her room where it was safe, where she wasn't stared at by a strange blue girl. "Save her." The blue girl said, this time Elise could hear her. "W-who? I-'m not... my clod brother! He's the o-one you should be as-asking..." Claude who for some reason wanted to be a hero and go beyond his depths for one girl's sake.

"Save the snow girl, don't let her rot away!"

All of a sudden the blue girl was right up in her face, holding her hands tight. "I-I can't! I'm not-" The blue girl suddenly smiled, squinting. "Then I'll teach you!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







"Ready?" Janet asked, unlocking the door to Winter's room. She nodded, rising, grasping her cane. They were head to the Opal, the performance arena where Winter often performed. "Can I have my phone? At least while I'm backstage?" Winter asked in the elevator. "Only for emergencies," Janet concluded, pushing Winter's phone back into her hands. She placed it in her pocket, Janet was carrying her violin case. "Straight back after the winners are announced, I'll be in my usual seat." Winter nodded, the two of them getting into the nondescript black car that Janet drove. There was hardly any traffic for a Saturday morning, when most would still be eating breakfast. Winter never ate before a competition, not because of nerves, but because she knew that all of the competitions were recorded and she didn't want to appear bloated.

The stadium was packed, apparently all seats had been sold out for this violin contest, which was unusual. Winter had never seen packed stands as much as today. What was going on? She wondered. As soon as she stepped out of the car, people swarmed her. She blinked, Janet stepping in front of her. "Ms. Matsuri, is it true you and Claude Von Hresvleg are dating!" A reporter asked, shoving a microphone in her face. "Ms. Matsuri, who were those people escorting you off the estate? Is it true you're in trouble with the government!" Janet shooed them away. "Winter needs to go inside to warm up. Please refrain from blocking her path," Janet warned, leading the way. Winter followed her, she was a slow walker, but never went too quickly.

Backstage, she was left alone. She leaned her cane against her leg as she waited, their numbers assigned randomly. Today, Winter was second, but the competition didn't begin for another thirty minutes. All around her, there were people nervously warming up, frantically memorizing sheet music last minute, or simply meditating. "Hey Winter," someone plopped down across from her, Timothy, a boy with more money to his name than most could hope to hold in their bank accounts their entire lives. "I heard you shacked it up with the Von Hresvelg's." He winked, "Want to come over to my place next time?" She stared at him blankly. "Claude and I are partners on a math project. That's all there is to it," his face crumpled in disappointment. "Really? That's it? No losing that V-Card?" She shook her head. "I hate disappoint, but I have higher priorities than dating right now." Besides, Winter wasn't allowed to date.

"Number 02! Take your place, you're on next." Winter nodded, rising slowly, using the wall to help her up. Timothy moved his legs out of the way, allowing her to bypass him. She waited in the wings, the first performer taking the stage. She winced, he should've tuned his violin before making an entrance. His opening was pitchy, it was clear he was nervous, but his accompaniment did an excellent job covering it up. Winter had chosen to have no accompaniment for her performance, as it was optional in the finals. When the boy finished, he bowed nervously, sweat pouring down his back. "Number 02, Winter Matsuri, will be performing Beethoven's Kruetzer." She smiled as she left the wings and walked on stage, her cane the only sound. A chair was placed there for her to sit in, but she would prefer to stand. She used it to lean her cane against, gingerly taking her gloves off.

Winter lifted her violin and bow, leaning the piece between her shoulder and chin. She closed her eyes, allowing the music to flow over her. It was a gentle stream at first, then the tune picked up. The stream was now a river, floating over, then a waterfall as the notes played, bow strings flying. Winter was lost in the music, her eyes remaining closed as she revered the feeling of the reverberation in her bones, a language only she could understand. When it was over, she peeled her eyes open, a thunderous applause roaring in her eyes. Winter was panting, she stumbled, grabbing her cane for balance. One of the stage hands came to assist her, packing up her violin and handing her, her gloves. She put them back on, taking one last curtsy and limping off stage.

It took over an hour for the judge's to deliberate today. The others waited nervously offstage, but Winter was napping, her eyes closed, her energy spent. "Contestants, please wait until your number is called before taking the stage." She peeled open one eye, noticing everyone lining up. Slowly Winter rose, her stomach growling. "In third place, Amelia Brown!" Amelia burst into tears, taking the stage, grateful. "In second place, Timothy Green!" Timothy grinned, jogging and waving at the crowd. "And in first place, this should come as no surprise to anyone, Winter Matsuri!" Her walk was slow, she took a curtsy, accepting the medal and trophy. She spoke briefly to the judges at the end, who showered her with praise as one of the stage hands swept up the roses that littered the floors. "Truly brilliant, you really should come play at the Opal more often." Winter smiled thinnly, "Should I ever have the opportunity, I would be more than glad to."

Janet was waiting for her backstage. "We had an agreement," she said crossly. "I had to be polite, besides, did you really expect me to return that quickly when I haven't left my room in a week?" Janet guided her through the back, to where the car was parked, evading the swarm of people outside looking to congratulate the winners. "Eat," Janet handed her another one of the sludge colored drinks. Winter took the cap off, taking a sip. She made a face, it never did get better. "This isn't the way back," Winter looked outside, making an off-hand comment. Janet pulled up through the drive through a coffee shop, one Winter hadn't been to since her friends had died. "What do you want?" Janet asked, rolling down her window so Winter could read the menu better.

"A vanilla frappe with two pumps toffee syrup and caramel drizzle." Janet wrinkled her nose, but obliged, getting herself a black coffee. Winter eagerly took the drink, savoring the taste. "Why did you do this? You never go off route." She asked, but Janet didn't answer.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝Close your eyes, don't see what's in front of you.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#0C94CC β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #CC0C2E】

|| Azalea|| Nano.ripe ||







Elise barely understood what was happening. All she knew was that she was forced to do a variety of things at the command of the mysterious blue girl who called herself Ame. Ame was a cruel master, forcing Elise to re-do things until she was satisfied. "Make a rain drop!" She would order. "Make a flood!" For what felt like years Elise was pushed around by the mysterious blue girl. Yet somehow, she was able to do it. Was this why the rain was always following her? Was it because of the girl in her dream? Elise didn't know, and when she woke up in her bed with a worried Claude looking over her, she couldn't help but be confused. "Wh-what's happened?" She asked, more confused than ever. What happened to the meeting with Gordon Grant? "You passed out yesterday." Claude said, rubbing his blonde hair. "I'm sorry, Liss, maybe having you meet him was too much."

It was odd but as annoying as Gordon Grant was, it wasn't as if he was the problem. "N-no, that's not it." As much as she hated to admit it, she was partially used to Gordon Grant being a pest. He was often bothering them, so he became white noise to her. "Then what happened?" He asked, pressing her for more information. She blushed, wondering how stupid she would sound, but then she decided to just tell him everything. As much as she hated to admit it, Claude was the person she could trust most in this world. Since her mother died, he was the one who tried the hardest to talk to her, and the one who was the least tiring to be around. "U-um... do you need proof?"

Claude shook his head, frowning distinctly. "No, it's okay. I'm sure the rain that always follows your mood is evidence enough. But.... hmm, that's interesting." His eyes were twinkling, it was the look he got whenever he was piecing things together. "What is?" Claude grinned, looking her in the eye. "Winter always wears gloves, right? And Vincent complained about there being water stuck to the keys of the Grand Piano... and when I brushed fingers with her, her hands felt like ice." What could that even mean? "The... Ame, she... she told me to save... a snow girl. What if that..." But could someone like Elise save anyone? Was she good for anything anymore?

"Well, maybe it's fate. I'll have to read more about the Lore... because this is intriguing." He nodded, taking her hand. "Get dressed and eat up, Liss, we'll be getting in Gordon's car and meeting with Janet. Everything's ready to go on the offensive now." Already? "But I just woke up!" She whined, not wanting to be a part of this. "I'm not sure you have a choice, Liss. And Winter seems like someone you could talk to about this strange phenomenon. Come on, for whatever reason, I'm sure you'll have to be at the meeting if we want to save her." Against her protests, Claude helped her get dressed and made sure she ate just as they heard Grant's car outside, beckoning them to enter.

For better or for worse, they were going to have to negotiate with Janet regarding Winter's case, or Janet would risk having it all uploaded to the Chrysanthemum Howler where the government's sins would be online for all to see.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Winter Matsuri Character Portrait: Elise von Hresvelg

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❝I put my arms around myself and I'm unbreakable.❞

【ɗιαƖσgΟ…Ρ” cσƖσя:#BDA0CB β™™ тнσυgΠ½Ρ‚ cσƖσя #F7B3DA】

|| Green || Cavetown ||







She finished her drink in her room, where she had begun to clean in ernest. Her schoolwork was organized in different folders, her sheet music in others. She placed her clean clothes in drawers and hung up anything fancy. She changed out of her recital dress and donned a simple shirt and shorts. "Winter, lunch," Janet knocked on the door, opening it. She placed the tray on top of the desk, which you could now see since Winter had cleaned it. Janet took the laundry basket full of dirty clothing, since Winter couldn't leave the room, she would have to do the laundry on her own. "Let's see, any homework for the weekend?" Her tablet was limited to the school portal until her ban was lifted. "Nope, nothing." She sighed with relief, at last caught up on everything she had fallen behind on.

Winter picked at her dinner, Janet's cooking was good, but she didn't particularly like chicken with skin on and green beans with sauce. Oh well, she did her best to eat some of it, then went to her bookshelf to read until it was time for dinner. Thankfully, tomorrow her ban would be lifted and Monday she was allowed back at school. The psychologist was supposed to call her sometime this evening as well, to check on her mental state after being in isolation for nearly a week. It wasn't real isolation, since there was Janet constantly checking on her, as well as the school portal, and her large window which allowed her to look outside at the city. Winter glanced out of it now with a sigh, wondering how people could be so content with their little lives.

She placed her trophies on a shelf, there were even more of them in a box stuffed in the back of her closet, and some at the school as well. There was a knock on the door outside, Winter could hear it. "Can I help you?" Janet asked, but Winter couldn't hear anything else. She counted footsteps, someone had come? Was she being sectioned again? Winter swallowed hard, pressing her ear up against the door, but it didn't sound like wardens. It didn't sound like the psychologist. Winter narrowed her eyes. Claude? That sounded like his voice, masculine. There were two other voices. Elise? Winter's eyes widened. What were they doing here? She looked around for a pin, wishing she could unlock the door and peek out. For now, Winter lay against the ground, her cheek pressed into the carpet, peeking out from underneath the door. All she could see were shoes.

Janet had them in the doorway, no doubt she wouldn't let them inside. Winter sat upright, pressing her ear against the door again. What were they doing here? Her heart hammered in her chest. Had Claude gotten upset that she wasn't answering his texts? She glanced under the door, but the third set of shoes wasn't Vincent, their driver. These shoes were more like sneakers and they were scuffed and muddy, well-worn. The shoes Vincent had worn were polished and shiny. Were they in trouble? Had they come to check on Winter? But why would Elise leave? Claude had said that she was a recluse, hadn't he? Winter grasped her cane, standing upright and looking for something to pick the lock with, she wanted to find out what was going on.